The Evolution of Touch Marketing in the 21St Century

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By Hector Cisneros

Touch marketing used to be the sole domain of junk mail marketers. Then email became the dominant form of touch marketing. In 2010 our digital world shifted again with the emergence of social media. Today, Touch Marketing can be implemented in a variety of ways. Best of all, a marketer can gain synergy by maintaining a unified brand and implementing coordinated campaigns via their Blogging, Social Media and Email Newsletter touch marketing elements. Don't get me wrong, mail and email still work, but they are one-sided conversations with minimal engagement. Engagement is the key! Blogging and social posts are where the real touch marketing battles are being won. So, if you’re ready to learn how to coordinate these marketing elements to maximize your return on investment, read on and discover why touch marketing in the 21st Century is the key to building customer trust and closing more deals in today’s competitive marketplace.

Reach Out & Touch Someone

The big question today is: why should I engage in touch marketing? I’m on page one of Google search! I can buy Pay Per Click to reach prospects. I can use my organic position to gain traffic. Heck, I can even simply email prospects to get people to see my offer! But what if you’re not on page one of Google search or your cost for Pay Per Click has skyrocketed, or worse, you’ve been branded a spammer, and your email marketing is being blocked by everyone on the planet! Now, what do you do? You obviously need another approach.

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I often get asked - Why would I want to use a coordinated touch marketing campaign? The answer is simple. Today, competition is stiffer than ever. Rarely do shoppers buy the first time they visit your website. Trust is at an all-time low! Most internet shoppers believe that the internet is riddled with unscrupulous websites trying to fleece them of their money. Trust is one of the most precious commodities you can provide. It is only second to usefulness, relevance, and timeliness for the product or service you provide.

By combining your blogging, social media, newsletter and email marketing, you can increase the trust factors needed to get prospects to the next step of calling you or buying your product or service. The devil is in the details for this coordinated program to work. The key is to always be congruent with your brand, always be honest with your presentation and always give the prospect a compelling reason to take the next step, whatever that next step is.

Here is a partial list of different types of touch marketing:

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  • ·         Ratings - It is very important that you cultivate high ratings and positive reviews in today’s socially active marketplace. People feel that ratings are important and place a high value on them. Having negative reviews can be the death knell for your marketing.
  • ·         Social Network Marketing Posting useful information along with a mix of testimonials and an occasional special is a great way to engage your followers.
  • ·         Blogging - Provide high-quality magazine length blogs with offers embedded in the articles or on the sidebars or the articles provide useful content, have a long shelf life, builds credibility, creates loyal followers and provide strong traffic. A real engagement powerhouse.
  • ·         Article Marketing – Article marketing allows you to gain a higher level of credibility by being published on third party e-zines. Many allow backlinks and author profiles, and some allow ad’s and offer embedded in the article designed to produce the right kind of Website traffic, even phone calls.
  • ·         Social Media Promoted Ads (Social PPC) – You can use social PPC to target your followers and those who like your social sites. You can run boosted ads in the timeline or sidebar ads. These can be useful if your ad motivates followers to return to your fan page or promotional page. It gives you another shot at them to take a look at your offer.
  • ·         Podcasting – A lot of people love podcasts. It’s another way of providing content that can contain a soft promotional offer with testimonials and endorsements. Podcasts have a long shelf life, especially if it’s produced as an Internet radio show. It can also be fodder (additional touches) for your social nets.
  • ·         Newsletters - Email newsletters to your opt-in customer/prospect base. These infotainment newsletters can be used to create more traffic (a very high organic ranking factor) and to give your prospects/client a second bite of the blog or offers promoted in the newsletter.
  • ·         Sponsored Articles & Ads – These are a hybrid between blogs and PPC
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    marketing. Often they are run on Yahoo or Bing. They are becoming popular on the social nets that offer newsfeeds like LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • ·         Retargeting Ads – These are network ads that continue to follow a visitor and serve them the same or similar ads that they are interested in. It’s a type of PPC ad except it's not running in search. Here again it adds an additional touch.
  • ·         Industry Specific Directory Ads – If your industry has a directory that has a highly targeted audience, it may be a fruitful place to run an ad to gain additional branded touches. 
  • ·         Partnership Banner Ads – These run on blogs, video channels, and other symbiotic websites. It's completely okay to enter into an arrangement with another company that has the same customer demographics, along with the high traffic you’re looking for. Make sure it's cost-effective and feel free to negotiate for perks and exclusivity.
There is no doubt that being listed on page one of Google organic search is a great place to be. However, it is much harder today to achieve a page one organic position in the search engines. Having said that, understand that it’s not the only way to get traffic and sell your goods on the web. Touch marketing has always been a staple of many businesses. Newsletters, catalogs, postcards and their electronic counterparts have been used successfully for years. The second biggest marketing battleground on the internet is the social networks. In our socially active world, the social media battleground can often generate high traffic at a lower cost than search engine position or pay per click. We have seen client blogs produce 25 to 100 percent more traffic than their website generated. Good, high-quality blog content is a powerful marketing weapon when used as fodder for the social nets.

We have also seen instances where combining blogs, social networks, and email newsletter elements have increased a client’s traffic by 150% or more. On top of that, their close ratio went up by 35% as well. These numbers are consistent across most industries. However, it is extremely important that the content and branded elements be delivered in a timely and regular schedule. Any sign of incongruence hurts the overall ability of the campaigns to build trust and get the prospect to take the next step. Here is a must use checklist of items, that when implemented, will ensure a high level of success.

1.    Quality - Your content needs to be of high quality. This is especially true for blogs and articles.
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Make sure all your content is proofed and error-free!
2.    Useful - Your social content has to be useful to build trust and loyalty. Posting direct sales ads will not help you.
3.    Timely - Your content needs to be timely. Posting information about Christmas in March won’t cut it.
4.    Relevant - Your content needs to be relevant to your prospect's needs. It’s all about them and not about you or your product.
5.    Funny - Old fashioned infotainment also plays well. Funny still helps the sale.
6.    Compelling offer - Your content has to contain a good reason for the prospect to take the next step. Your offer has to remove the risk from the transaction. It needs to build trust as well.
7.    Easily understood - Your content and your offer cannot be complex or lengthy in nature. If hard to understand or takes a lot to digest, it will not build trust and the prospect will not move forward.
8.    Video - Use video wherever possible. A short video of 90 seconds or less can convey a highly motivating message.
9.    Pictures - Good pictures or images will be more compelling than just words alone.
10.  Testimonials - People believe your customers more that they believe your ads. Use customer testimonials and positive reviews to help prospects take the next step.
11.  Focused - Make sure all of your landing pages and website pages are subject-focused, easy to understand, and are professionally proofed and error-free.
12.  Trust Elements - Make sure all of your landing pages and websites have the top five trust-building elements on them. These include Easy to find phone number, mailing address, unique selling proposition, testimonial video and compelling offer.

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It today’s highly competitive marketing arena, businesses have to take their marketing game to the next level to win prospects over. Even though internet sales are up every year, trust on the internet is at an all-time low. The constant media attention about hackers, the increasing number of phishing sites and ransomware scares, all tend to make the prospective shopper more hesitant when it comes to making a final buying decision. Today’s internet marketer needs to concentrate on building consumer trust if they want to get prospects to take the plunge and buy their products and services. Following the steps and implementing our checklist items will ensure your business can obtain consumer trust and get prospects to take the next step in the buying process. It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you.

That’s my opinion; I look forward to reading yours.

In this article, I have provided examples of why touch marketing is important in today’s highly competitive marketing environment. I have included examples of various types of touch marketing, success story examples and a checklist that contains a dozen items that will ensure your success.

If you’d like to read more articles like this, check out: Is it Time to Fire the Postman?, 21 Century Email - What's New, What Works, What's Scary, Touch Marketing – How to Win the Day & Get the Girl and Seven Valuable Benefits Social Networks Provide and Social Media Marketers Covet. You can also type “Touch Marketing” in the search box at the top of this blog to find even more.

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Hector Cisneros is a partner, COO and Social Media Director for the award-winning, Internet-based marketing firm, Working the Web to Win, in Jacksonville, FL. You can connect with him on TwitterFacebookGoogle+, LinkedIn, and YouTube. He’s also the co-host of BlogTalkRadio’s “Working the Web to Win,” where he and Working the Web to Win’s co-founder, Carl Weiss, make working the web to win simple for every business.  Additionally, Hector is a syndicated writer on EZine Online and is an active blogger (including ghostwriting).  He's a published author of two books, "60 Seconds to Success"(available at Amazon and B&N), and "Internet Marketing for the 21st Century," which you can get by filling out the form above.  He’s also the co-author of the book, “Working the Web to Win,” which is now available on Amazon.com.

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